The Losers comes from comic book origins. Without even doing research on the film, nor paying attention to the times where it specifically states this in the credits, I can figure this out. The imprints are everywhere: Title screen, random flashes to drawn caricatures of the characters, excessive use of slow motion — it’s all there. As it turns out, I was right; there is a comic that this film draws inspiration from. There are also incredibly blatant references to The Matrix and Slumdog Millionaire, which made me laugh more than any other part of the movie.
The plot will not surprise you. 5 rugged military men are betrayed and left for dead in Bolivia. They want revenge. They meet someone who can give them revenge. They don’t quite trust this person, but go along with the plan regardless of this fact. (Evidently, these people aren’t too bright). Then the story actually gets going, and things either go right or wrong, but by the end that doesn’t matter, because they’ll get their revenge chance.
All throughout the film, things go “boom”. Things get blown up, people get shot, other things get blown up, even more people get shot, and people get punched in the face. That’s about the extent of the action scenes in The Losers. Is this ever all that entertaining? Not really. Is it clever, unique or inventive in any way? Also a “not really”. But it does pass the time, and watching things explode is usually something that a film like this can bank on.
I did like the characters in the film. They grow on you. To describe them all is pointless, because you need the time with them in order to begin differentiating them from each other. Initially, they seem like carbon-copies of stock characters. They get enough time for you to begin liking them though. They are also well-acted, which is always a bonus in a film like this.
The Losers is supposed to be an action-comedy. It lacks in the latter area of that genre description. It has a couple of moments that are funny, but overall, it is not humorous. The jokes come off as flat, like there wasn’t much thought put into them, which means they fail to evoke laughter. The references I mentioned at the beginning made me laugh the most, and only because I guessed how desperate the writers were for people to like them.
“Oh, let’s make reference to insanely popular films in jest, so that people will like us for doing so”. That is what I imagined the writers doing while brainstorming those on-liners. There are probably other references hidden within the film; in fact, I’m certain of that. It’s just too bad that I didn’t care. The dialogue in this film had one of two purposes: Advance the plot, or attempt to make the audience laugh. The first part of that was usually more successful at accomplishing its task.
Unfortunately, those two one-liners end up being both the funniest and most memorable part of The Losers. In a film full of action scenes — the majority of the film is stunt after stunt) — that is not a good thing. The set pieces are not inventive enough, nor was there enough variety to make the film stick with you. There was also a lack of any sort of tension for most of the film; you’ve got a very good idea how each action sequence will end, given the way you expect the film to end.
Thankfully, there are a couple of twists in the plot that you may not see coming. That’s a saving grace mid-way through, because I was starting to get tired of “The Losers” just breezing their way through everything they needed to do. Character twists are a good thing, when used sparingly, and this film doesn’t overuse or underuse them. They’re placed perfectly to keep the story from dragging.
At the very least, The Losers passes the time. It’s a popcorn flick that occasionally delves into satire territory. Whether or not it successfully parodies action films, or if it falls into the clichés it wants to make fun of ends up changing from scene to scene. It sometimes works, but it often doesn’t. All the over-the-top action and characters shrugging off bullet wounds in the world doesn’t necessarily work. Like I said, sometimes it does, but often it doesn’t.
I almost want to say that The Losers is “good enough” as a passable action movie, but it ends up just being average. Nothing to make it stand out, but nothing to really dislike. The action is mostly stale, and the dialogue often pointless, but it will probably pass the time well enough. There are definitely better movies, but if it comes on the television sometime, you’ve got an hour and a half of free time, and you’re too lazy to get off the couch and put on a better movie, then it will probably suffice.